By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Editor | Published February 5, 2021
TYRONE–With his students joining by virtual assembly, George Wilkerson of Our Lady of Victory School learned Dec. 3 that he was selected Principal of the Year for the 2020-21 school year.
In an academic year like no other, the surprise award was a boost for the school community in Tyrone. Catholic Schools Superintendent Hal Plummer was on hand to make the announcement and to deliver balloons and a congratulatory banner.
“We need leaders like Mr. Wilkerson now more than ever,” said Plummer.
“A servant leader” is how school instructor Paulette Roberts described the principal.
“He’s a hit with the parents and the kids,” she said.
Wilkerson, named the school’s principal in 2017, was clearly moved by the announcement.
“This is a blessing. This is a great honor,” he said. “Thank you school and staff because this is a reflection of your work.”
Tyrone’s mayor, Eric Dial also joined the small gathering to offer his support.
Mayor Dial called the school “a jewel.”
“We tell people what a fantastic principal you have here,” he said.
Also attending the announcement were Father Kevin Hargaden, pastor of neighboring St. Matthew Church and school chaplain; Associate Superintendents Kellie DesOrmeaux and Dr. Connie Urbanski, school staff and Wilkerson’s wife, Jherine, who had managed to keep the award a secret.
Before coming on board to OLV, Wilkerson was assistant principal for six years at East Coweta Middle School in Senoia. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business education from the University of West Georgia and a specialist’s degree in educational leadership from Mercer University. He taught at Villa Rica High school, and was a teacher and coach at Madras Middle School in Newnan.
A football fan, Wilkerson also loves to read and spend time with his family. He and wife have three children. They are members of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Atlanta.
In a 2017 interview with The Georgia Bulletin, Wilkerson shared the reasons for deciding to pursue a career in education.
“I like sports, so I wanted to coach. I had several family members that were educators. I enjoyed working with young people. I think all of those had an impact on my choice of career,” he said.
Education is a career path that Wilkerson finds rewarding.
“Working in a school allows me to serve students, teachers, parents, and the community at large. I believe we are all called to be servants to our neighbors. Education is the perfect setting to do that,” he said in the interview.
Fourth-grade students Zara Whatley and Isabella Nguyen represented the student body at the assembly by holding the congratulatory banner. They described their principal as “funny” and said they enjoy the times he joins them for lunch.
After the announcement, Mr. Wilkerson delivered cookies to each classroom.
The Office of Catholic Schools honored a staff member from each school for Catholic Schools Week.